GLI Dissertation Enhancement Grants
The GLI provides awards of up to $2,000 for research expenses related to a student’s dissertation (previous awardees). These funds are granted on a competitive basis and are designed to support PhD Students with outstanding potential to accelerate progress on their research, adding depth or breadth to their work. Spring 2024 Dissertation Enhancement Grant RFA.
Annual DEG Application Schedule
|Grant Schedule||Spring RFA||Fall RFA|
|Funding Period||Jan 1st – July 31st||July 1st – Jan 31st|
|Application Opens||November 1st||May 1st|
|Application Deadline||November 22nd||May 22nd|
- Preference will be given to PhD candidates engaged in full-time dissertation research. However, all Ph.D. students in good academic standing are eligible to apply.
- Student must have authorization from their department’s Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).
- Students are allowed one GLI Dissertation Enhancement Grant per academic year and they may receive this award no more than twice during their career at Vanderbilt .
- Grants are limited to $2,000, and all charges must comply with Vanderbilt finance policies.
- The GLI reserves the right to award less than the full sum requested by successful applicants, based on the degree of need demonstrated by the proposal and budget, the number of successful applications, and the total available funds.
- These awards are not a substitute for, nor a supplement to, graduate stipends, and they may not be used to fund credit-bearing coursework.
- Award funds will either be provided directly to award recipients or directly to vendors via the Oracle procurement system.
- Awards cannot be applied retroactively.
- Funds may only be used as proposed in the application.
- Proposed research activities must be completed within the funding period outlined above.
- Applicants MUST be prepared to move forward with the proposed work if awarded a grant.
- We ask that students be responsible stewards of GLI resources. If the awardee cannot move forward with the proposed work, they must notify the GLI immediately. Recipients who fail to use their funding, barring extenuating circumstances, will be ineligible for future GLI DEGs.
Dissertation Enhancement Grants are available to students for adding a unique element to their dissertation that enhances the work by increasing its depth or breadth beyond the basic requirements of their dissertation committee. The most important component of the application is to demonstrate that the award will support work beyond the scope of the dissertation committees requirements. Funds should not be used to support fundamental components of the dissertation. Students should ask themselves, “If I did not add this component to my thesis would it still be accepted?” If the answer is no, it will not be a strong application. The selection committee will evaluate applications based on the following criteria: (1) a succinct and digestible overview of current dissertation work written for an interdisciplinary audience; (2) a clearly articulated proposal to enhance the dissertation beyond the essential requirements of the dissertation committee, including clear project goals, a feasible timeline and a strong justification for how the work adds a special element to the dissertation; (3) a budget justification that demonstrates planning, an understanding of costs, responsible use of funds, and a need (no other funds available).
Yes, all PhD students in good academic standing are eligible to apply. However, the dissertation enhancement grant does not support fundamental dissertation research. For this reason, preference will be given to PhD candidates – students who have an approved dissertation proposal – engaged in full-time dissertation research, as it is expected that candidates have a clear understanding of what is fundamental to completing their dissertation and what is an extra element that will enhance the essential elements required by their committee. All PhD students are eligible to apply, to accommodate students who are well into their research but who have not completed their candidacy requirements. In these cases, the applicant should address their candidacy status in the rationale section of the application, or they can ask their letter writer can do so in their recommendation (preferable as the rationale is a critical part of the application and space is at a premium).
Examples of appropriate uses for a Dissertation Enhancement Grant include:
- Travel to sites of unique sources of research material, archives, and libraries.
- Consultation or collaborative work with experts in the area of the student’s research when such support is not available at Vanderbilt, for example, learning a new research methodology or interviewing an author whom the student is studying.
- Participation in a non credit-bearing specialty course or short course that will broaden the students understanding of research techniques, methods, or concepts that will enhance current dissertation work.
- Unique services not available at the university, such as sophisticated data or chemical analyses.
- The purchase of specialized small equipment items, supplies, and data sets; only if funds for such items are not available from other sources (adviser’s grant, departmental funds).
- A research assistant or other personnel to carry out work that the student could not reasonably be expected to conduct (extensive analysis of data, computer programming, etc.), but whose inclusion will greatly improve the dissertation.
- Payment of subjects participating in a research project, if the project is in addition to the basic dissertation research (e.g., is not required by the PhD Committee) and if a strong rationale is provided to show that subject payment, although not required, will enhance markedly the quality, scope, reliability, etc. of the data collected.
If travel is heavily focused on the applicants dissertation AND it adds an element that enhances their dissertation work, they should apply for a Dissertation Enhancement Grant. Please note, the purpose of travel must add to the dissertation (short course, traveling to archives, etc.) it cannot be a fundamental part of the dissertation. Students should ask themselves, “If I did not add this component to my thesis, would it still be accepted?” If the answer is no, they should not apply. If the primary purpose of travel is for professional or academic development (leadership workshop, learning skills, a conference that broadly applies to their research work, etc.) that will build the applicant’s skill set beyond their dissertation work, this travel would be better suited for a GLI Professional Development & Training Grant. Conference travel where students will present their research is supported by the Graduate School Travel Grant and the Graduate Student Council Travel Grant.
Yes, grant funds can be used for CORES services. However, students need to be aware of the lag time for expensing in the CORES system. It may take a month or two for charges to be expensed and all costs must be expensed within the fiscal year their grant is awarded. Therefore, all CORES services must be completed and expensed by April 30th.
Students can submit an application for a GLI Dissertation Enhancement Grant and a GLI Professional Development & Training grant in the same grant cycle. However, they must fund different activities. If they are traveling, they must select the grant that is most aligned with the purpose of travel (see “Can the Dissertation Enhancement Grant be used for Travel?”).
There is no formal requirement to include references. The use of references is largely dependent on the content applicants include in this section of the application. If you choose to use them, they will count toward the page limit. In the past applicants have used highly abbreviated citation formats.
Figures may be used. If you choose to use them, they will count toward the page limit.
Award funds will either be dispersed directly to the award recipient as a stipend or they will be provided directly to vendors via the Oracle procurement system (lab supplies, CORES analysis, etc.). The grant administrator will coordinate with recipients regarding disbursement at the time of the award. If you are an international student, there may be tax implications for stipend payments. Please contact ITO to determine tax obligations.